By ROGER M. BALANZA
Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has dismissed as a lie, the unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels declared by President Rodrigo Duterte as government battles the spread of the new corona virus 2019 (Covid-19).
In Malacañang, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo slammed Sison for claiming that Duterte’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire was “premature, insincere, and false.”
Sison also described the ceasefire declaration as “premature, if not insincere and false, and just a psywar trick.”
“Sison is again engaged in ranting nonsense that only highlights his perverted vision of reality as well as his insensitivity to the present grave peril that the Filipino people he professed to fight for face,” Panelo said.
Duterte declared the ceasefire on Wednesday, March 18, which suspended operations by military and police against the NPA, the armed wing of the CPP, from March 19 to April 15.
Also Read: JOMA: Reds to declare ceasefire to help fight COVID-19 if Duterte resumes peace talks
“The government unilateral ceasefire is not true. The military and police operations continue in different areas,” said Sison in an online interview by Inquirer.net from his base in The Netherlands, which the online news site posted on Friday.
Panelo said Sison should grab the “golden opportunity” to show his patriotism by extending his hands for peace, for the sake of the Filipino people.
“At a time when all Filipinos, regardless of class, religion, or ideology, are united to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 in the country, Mr. Sison, in these times of national health emergency and calamity, would rather have a hostile environment where Filipinos argue with, if not kill, each other,” he said.
Duterte has lured Sison to declare a ceasefire to pave way for unhampered implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) that covered the entire Luzon.
“That redeployment in urban areas, especially in Luzon, that’s not to fight COVID-19 but to stop public transport, a nuisance and damage to the livelihood of the people and blocking of medical testing and treatment of those sick with COVID-19 or whatever ailment,” Sison said.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the communist movement is showing its “true colors” over its outright rejection of the government’s unilateral ceasefire.
“Their true colors are exposed here. They claim to be compassionate towards the people but even in the time of the coronavirus, where everyone is making sacrifices, they still want to continue the battle against our police officers and soldier.” DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in Filipino during a briefing on Covid-19 aired over state-run PTV.
Malaya said the communist movement’s response to the measure is saddening.
“Their actions reflect that they do not care or they do not love the country and our people especially in times of crisis and calamity,” he added.
Malaya said since the national and local governments including the police and military are swamped with challenges due to the Covid-19 crisis, the least that the communists should have done is to not hamper government efforts to serve the people by reciprocating the government’s declaration of the ceasefire.
“How do we expect the police and military to do their jobs properly to man the checkpoints, deliver relief goods to indigent families, maintain peace and order, and so on and so forth if they are always looking over their shoulder for that NPA ambush or attack on construction sites to extort revolutionary taxes?” he said.
He said the government’s declaration of ceasefire will give the Philippine National Police the opportunity to fully serve the people since Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has also declared a suspension of offensive police operations.
“It was never about the people. It was always about them and how they will advance their so-called revolution to bring about a communist state in our country. We are fools for expecting the communists to put the interests of the country before their own narrow ideological ambitions. That’s why there’s no use negotiating with terrorists,” he added.
In the event of a communist attack, Malaya said government forces are prepared and will have no resort but to protect themselves.
The CPP-NPA-NDF has been branded as a terror organization by the Philippines, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (with reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)